… by Cyndi Richardson

*For privacy purposes names of people and places have been changed.

Late one Saturday night, Lara* called from the hospital. Her firstborn, a newborn daughter, was struggling to breathe, could I come in the morning? Of course I agreed, but early Sunday morning brought another call. Her baby hadn’t made it until morning. We rushed to Lara’s house, and I held her while the tears flowed. Nine months of hope and joy were lost and buried in the ground.

DSC_6768_1 (Large)bNothing swells with potential like the womb. In that “secret place,” the unformed body of a brand new person is knit together by God Himself (Psalm 139:13-16). As tiny legs and arms and organs come into being, a garden of hopes and dreams and love is also springing into fullness. Some 17 years ago, when I thought my own tiny babe was lost in a drowning accident, a piece of my heart was nearly cut out for good. The mercy of God to spare my son had nothing to do with fair and everything to do with grace. My mother’s heart grew deeper that day.

At a Mustard Seed children’s home in B-Village, I interviewed the site leaders about the background of the children who live there. At that time, five of the girls in the home had mothers who had died while giving birth to them. Girls are often married as young teenagers in the mountain villages, and healthcare for them is an untrained midwife and the village shaman. Motherless newborns are brought up by family members for a while, but when other care becomes an option the motherless are often the first to be sent away. Other children are discarded, collateral damage from divorce. Every baby bears the potential to know both joy and pain, so I’m touched by the love-miracle I see at the children’s home, because MSI leaders Sani* and Elka* treat the orphans and rejects like precious jewels. There, I see children smiling, knowing they are treasures.

This treasure-finding is at the heart of motherhood. First teeth, first steps, first cutting off of curly locks, we watch the babes grow up. We cheer them on, even when our own heart wishes wildly for the wings to stay folded, close to home.

A couple years after her baby girl flew straight to Heaven, Lara gave birth to a son. She’s busy pouring into him now, a handsome little mustard seed of potential. Mustard Seed teachers, children’s home leaders, they’re all part of the treasure-finding, all joining in with the mother-heart to love and grow the smallest ones into their wings.

Luke 2:19,  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.